ESFS Should Reform

This is one article I wanted not to write. I have to because I was in the centre of an unpleasant hurdle, assaulted by both friends and foes.

It is about the 2012 Zagreb Eurocon, which by the way was really ok from the organizers point of view. They edited English and Croat anthologies especially for this event and the famous Darko Macan was everywhere. Zagreb is a wonderful clean city, full with flowers, blossoming and perfuming the atmosphere. This is one of the reasons I initially chose Bucharest in May, for the 2014 bid. (Anyway this article is not about winning or losing. I have to say “Congratulations, Ireland! your effort was better!”). Even though, the Zagreb event  was quite near after Easter and this showed in personal finances, mine or others. The attendance was as expected, less that in Stockholm last year. The only other reason I think, besides finance, would be the past war, however even the police was scarcely there, making obvious that the slightest sign of war was erased. Fortunately for the Croats, because the tourists still seem to remember, and being cautious until their first visit.

I attended two ESFS general meetings. The first should have been on Thursday, but because of lack of quorum (Roberto Quaglia arrived with me on Friday) it was postponed. I will focus on bid presentation and things related to bid. Because on this I have a stronger opinion, being directly involved, I have some proofs and more important, it concerns the main basis of Eurocon.

The Croat organizer where able to provide a large conference room, complete with ceiling projector on a large screen and a laptop attached. Wonderful. I was asked before the presentation if 15 minutes will suffice. Of course they will, I said, thinking at the number of pages. Absolutely, I was thinking, we have the best conditions.

However the presentations were allowed only 10 minutes. Officially, new rule. Mister Chairman withdrew himself from the board table for the duration, only to better support his team, by further detailing prices and making comments or pushing the guy presenting for Ireland. I resented that, the limited time and the visible support from an “inactive Chairman”.

Let’s say, this was at the presentation. If you want to look at my presentation, filmed by one of my colleagues, it is on YouTube, here (Presentation, First Part,  Presentation, Last Part). Not very elaborate, simple, direct, based on facts. You have to forgive my English and my obvious excessive nervousness.

Next day, same atmosphere. The now active Chairman proposed 3 minutes speech for each bidder representative, which was done, only for him to begin presenting some more during 5 to 10 minutes. It was quite inappropriate, and was covering small details like currency exchange rate or the relation with Worldcon in London, the series of 6 or more events, but the meaning was “Vote for Ireland”. Of course I reacted but with no effect. There could be more to say, but everybody’s time is limited and you may draw a clear image from what was said already.

I will not comment that on the Eurocon schedule the Romanian bid was ignored, and it was even marked the Dublin Eurocon 2014 presentation on Sunday, printed long time before vote!  I will only remember that Iris – Eastercon Journal and Ansible mentioned, by wording of ESFS Chairman that Dublin Eurocon for 2014 is a fact and indeed linked with Worldcon. It was a whole campaign, focused on ignoring Romanian bid, or even the necessary bid approval for one bidder. And this campaign was lead by the ESFS Chairman.

Maybe you will see on the film the equivocal position of Ireland representative answering the question what will happen if Worldcon will not be in London 2014. It seems to me they didn’t considered the possibility.

Thank you mister Chairman of ESFS for being impartial and supporting. Romania should have withdrawn the bid, but afterwards the image would be as a theatrical one, not as a protest for not being equally treated. The main reason we stay and fight is the following.

We have to start lobbying for stronger changes at ESFS board and restore the professional look and credibility. Compared to Worldcon, Eurocon seems like a small European travel agency, which by chance happens to be used by many SF fans and maybe some few SF professionals.

I would be happy to hear somebody proving me wrong.